Novi Beograd edged out Ferencvaros in the big match of Day 9 in the Champions League Group B (14:13). It was a huge battle. As the result show, tiny details decided the winner in the clash of two excellent teams. Ferencvaros had a slim lead before the final quarter. At the finish, Novi Beograd refound its rhythm from the beginning of the game and secured the win in the last three minutes and a half.
One of the biggest winners of the day was Brescia, which defeated Spandau (14:10) and became the first team that mathematically booked a ticket for the Final Eight in Belgrade (after host Novi Beograd, of course). Sixteen points separate Brescia and 5th-placed Spandau with five rounds until the end of the preliminary Stage.
Jug Dubrovnik bounced back after a period of bad results and performances in the Champions and the Regional League. The Croats beat OSC Budapest convincingly (13:8) and kept 4th place. Jug has six points more than 5th-placed Spandau now.
Marseille was better than Sabadell (9:6). Thanks to that success and OSC’s loss in Dubrovnik, the French climbed from 8th to 6th place and returned to the circle of the clubs that can qualify for the Final Eight.
Novi Beograd – Ferencvaros 14:13 (4:3, 5:5, 2:4, 3:1)
Novi Beograd: Filipovic, S.Rasovic, Mandic, Granados 2, Cetkovic 1, Pijetlovic 1, Drasovic 3, Jaksic 1, Perkovic 2, Vlachopoulos 1, Skoumpakis 1, V.Rasovic, Pedro. Head coach: Gocic.
Ferencvaros: Szakonyi, Molnar 1, Pohl, Merkulov 1, Argyropoulos 2, Ubovic, Fekete, A.Nagy, Nemet, D.Varga 3, Jansik 4, Damonte, Vogel. Head coach: Zs. Varga.
After three straight defeats in the last year and a half, Novi Beograd beat Ferencvaros for the first time in the Champions League match. It was a great derby, open until the dyings minutes. Novi Beograd won, thanks to an excellent opening and a good finish. The home side was in front for more of the time, but it found itself one goal down before the final quarter. Still, the Serbs managed to come back and earn valuable three points.
In the opening minutes, Novi Beograd played an intense pressing in defense, giving the desired result. Dusan Mandic scored from an extra player in the hosts’ first attack. By the fifth minute, the hosts built a 3:0 lead. But, Ferencvaros started finding solutions on how to outwit the Serbs’ defense.As the end of the first quarter was approaching, the distance was smaller and smaller. Fifty seconds before the first break, Denes Varga leveled at 3:3 from a penalty shot. Just 20 seconds later, Dusko Pijetlovic replied with a power play goal and Novi Beograd entered the second period leading 4:3.
Ferencvaros leveled at 4:4 and 5:5 in the third period. Deep into the quarter, Novi Beograd went to +2 (7:5, 8:6). Two and a half minues before the middle break, Denes Varga fired a rocket from more than eight meters (7:8). Shortly after, Ferencvaros had a chance to level from a penalty, but Argyropoulos’ shot went wide. Immediately, Radomir Drasovic scored for 9:7. However, Ferencvaros had the last laugh in the first half. In the last second, Szilard Jansik found the net with a no-look lob shot.
At halftime, Ferencvaros’ head coach Zsolt Varga switched the goalkeepers and sent Soma Vogel into the water to replace Daniel Szakony. Vogel was injured for a long and this was his first CHL match in 2023.
Ferencvaros got off to a very good start in the second half, and netter two furst goals. In the 20th minute, Szilard Jansik put the visitors’ in front for the first time – 10:9. But, Ferencvaros wasn’t leading for a long. In the next possession, Nikola Jaksic equalized with his well-known “helicopter shot”. Savo Cetkovic scored for 11:10, but Ferencvaros replied with two goals. Five seconds before the end of the quarter, Argyropoulos gave the visitors a 12:11 advantage.
Novi Beograd had to chase the rival in the final eight minute, but Ferencvaros was a better rival in the first several minutes of the fourth period, and had a few nice chances, but Joao Pedro Coimbra posted a few great saves in a row. After one of the Brazilian’s saves, Novi Beograd started a counterattack, which was finished by Angelos Vlachopoulos, who leveled at 12:12 with 03:14 minutes left on the clock. Alvaro Granados scored for 13:12 in the 31st minute. After that, Ferencvaros had a solid opportunity to level the score, but Pedro posted another save. He barely stopped a shot from Szilar Jansik, who committed a personal foul after that. Novi Beograd didn’t miss the opportunity. Drasovic converted a man-up to a 14:12 lead with 50 seconds to go. In the remaining time, the Hungarians scored just a consolation goal.
Novi Beograd’s coach Zivko Gocic said:
“We started very well, but Ferencvaros managed to come back, mostly because of our mistakes. They play atypical water polo, with several players covering the center-forward position. We handled well with their style of attack in the first quarter. However, in the middle two periods we needed two or three saves and good defensive actions more to keep the lead. We didn’t manage to do that, but we emerged as winners. In the end, that’s the most important. We beat an excellent team. I am happy because my players had a big wish throughout the game and that helped us to find the way toward the win. The win is important, no matter the way it was achieved and on how we played”, Gocic told Total Waterpolo.
Zsolt Varga, Ferencvaros’ coach, commented:
“Although we didn’t start well, we managed to come back and take a lead. But, we made some mistakes while we were in front and let Novi Beograd make opportunities from a counterattack. The home side leveled after one of our mistakes and retook control. All in all, we played very well against one of the best teams in Europe, and I am happy because of that. On the other side, I regret because we were close to winning one point at least.”
Jug – OSC Budapest 13:8 (5:3, 3:1, 2:1, 3:3)
Jug AO: Popadic, Burdjelez, Fatovic 3, Zvono, Jokovic 1, Mozara, Biljaka, Lazic 4, Krzic 2, Kakaris 2, Grgurevic, Zuvela 1, Jurisic. Head coach: Kobescak.
OSC Budapest: Levai, Angyal 1, K.Manhercz 2, Varnai, Salamon, E.Csacsovszky, Dala, Toth 1, Vin.Vigvari 1, Burian 2, Bundschuh 1, Aranyi, Bisztrisanyi. Head coach: Da. Varga.
After a series of poor performances in the past several weeks (with the exception of Saturday’s match against Novi Beograd), Jug finally played as it could and kept 4th place in Group B.
Toth converted a man-up in OSC’s first possession for 0:1, but that was the visitors’ only lead in the game. OSC’s start was promising, but Jug took control and built a 2-goal lead in the 6th minute (4:2). Burian halved the distance. Still, Franko Lazic, who was outstanding in the first 16 minutes, closed the first quarter with a power-play goal to make it 5:3.
At the beginning of the second period, OSC came close once again. Manhercz converted a penalty for 4:5. However, Jug’s storm, which was crucial for the outcome, started soon. The hosts netted three goals in less than three minutes (Lazic, Fatovic, Krzic) and jumped to 8:4 (the 13th minute)..
In the 27th minute, Angyal reduced the gap to three (5:8). But, Jug produced a new 3:0 run. The Croats kept OSC scoreless for almost eight minutes while scoring three goals. Six and a half minutes before the end, Marko Zuvela scored from a 6 on 5 to give Jug an 11:5 advantage and there was no way back for OSC.
Brescia – Spandau 04 14:10 (4:1, 3:3, 6:3, 1:3)
Brescia: Tesanovic, Dolce 3, C. Presciutti , Gianazza, Lazic, Vapenski, Renzuto 2, Kharkov 2, Alesiani, Luongo 3, E. Di Somma 4, Gitto, Baggi Necchi. Head coach: Bovo.
Spandau 04: Baksa, Gbadamassi 1, Prioteasa 1, Cuk 4, Tkac 1, Strelezkij 1, Marziali, Chiru, Kholod 2, Restovic, Shepelev, Schweimer. Head coach: Kechagias.
Brescia didn’t let Spandau cause a new surrise. The Italians led from the beginning. The Germans were coming back from time to time, but they couldn’t catch up with the hosts. Early in the second period, Dolce converted a man-up for 5:1. It looked like Brescia had a firm control. However, Spandau halved the deficit before the middle break, and again in the third period (7:9). However, Brescia mad a 4:0 series in three minutes and went to 13:7 (23rd minute). After that it held back all Spandau’s comeback attempts.
Marseille – Sabadell 9:6 (4:2, 2:3, 3:0, 0:1)
Marseille: Lazovic, Cuckovic 1, Crousillat 2, Spaic, Prlainovic 1, Vernoux 1, Daube, Bouet 1, Marion Vernoux 1, Bodegas, Vukicevic 2, Vanpeperstraete, Hovhannysian. Head coach: Scepanovic.
Sabadell: Lorrio, Sanahuja 1, Gil, Teclas, Veich, Valera 2, Bertran, Cabanas 1, Averka 1, D.Banicevic 1, Bonet Bustos, Teclas. Head coach: Colet.
Marseille took revenge for a defeat suffered in Sabadell a month ago and kept slim chances of reaching the Final Eight. Sabadell is definitively out of the race for spots in the final tournament.
Both teams had ups and downs in the game, but Marseille’s periods of good play lasted much longer and the French collected three points. In the first quarter, Marseille earned a 2:0 lead early. Sabadell leveled at 2:2, but the French regained a 2-goal advantage – 4:2. Sabadell dominated in the opening minutes of the second quarter. The Spaniards scored three unanswered goals in four minutes and gained an advantage. Bernat Sanahuja hit the back of the net to give the visitors a 5:4 advantage in the 12th minute. However, after that, Marseille ruled the field. The French defense did a fantastic job. It shut out Sabadell’s attack between the 12th and 31st minutes.
A good defensive play impacted the attack. Marseille entered the final period leading 9:5. Marseille’s attack disappeared in the fourth period. However, Sabadell scored only one goal and the hosts’ win wasn’t in danger. Banicevic set the final score when it was too late for Sabadell to come back – a minute and 23 seconds before the end.
1.Brescia 9 games – 24 points
2. Novi Beograd 9 – 22
3. Ferencvaros 9 – 18
4. Jug 9 – 14
5. Spandau 9 – 8
6. Marseille 9 – 7
7. OSC Budapest 9 – 6
8. Sabadell 9 – 4
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